“I was raised in hatred, Roma. I could never be your lover, only your killer.”
Title: These Violent Delights
Author: Chloe Gong
Release Date: November 17th 2020
Rating: 4/5 stars
Romeo and Juliette is a tale that’s known by many as the ultimate love story and Chloe Gong has just reinvented it.
Set in Shanghai in the early 1900s, These Violent Delights is filled with violence, mystery and of course, forbidden love. The violence wasn’t something I was quite expecting when I started, but it’s only fitting when all of the protagonists are gangsters who are intent on protecting their territory.
The writing is, simply speaking, beautiful. The author makes use of elaborate metaphors that make me pause and reread the sentence once more. It only adds to the overall aesthetic of the book which, if you couldn’t guess from only seeing the cover, is gorgeous.
This story focuses more on the mystery than the romance, allowing time for the sparks between Juliette and Roma to fly. This book promised a slow-burn romance and yes, I waited seemingly an eternity before a hint of affection appeared. The author delivered on her promise of romance, and yet I was slightly disappointed.
I was expecting a bit more when Juliette and Roma finally reached each other.
A recurring characteristic of debut books, in my opinion, is flat side-characters and bad pacing. Imagine how surprised I was while reading this book to find out These Violent Delights is a debut! Not only is the pacing of the mystery good and not too slow, the scenes with the side-characters were some of my favorites. The dynamic between Roma’s cousin, Benedikt, and friend, Marshall, was a delight to read about.
I have to admit that I found Roma to be a bit boring, but he had his moments. His character worked well with Juliette’s and I liked their relationship, but I didn’t connect well enough with Roma on his own.
A book filled with so much violence deserved an explosive ending and while it took me some time to decide whether or not I liked the ending or not, I can finally say that I can’t think of anything else that could have ended this story better.
Thanks to the most dramatic cliff-hanger I have read in years, it seems that buying the sequel to These Violent Delights is quite high on my list of priorities!
Till we meet again,